Archive | February, 2011

Closet Shelving

8 Feb
shelving stacked

Shelving. And an iron. It makes sense later, I promise.

Rob and I share a closet. And not one of those grand, walk-in, almost-second-bedroom closets. A skinny, long closet with a single rail and two shelves and sliding doors that always block at least half of the space. It makes getting ready in the morning something of a challenge.

Anyway, to make things more fun, there’s this strange awkward bump-out on my side of the closet. Our best guess is that it conceals some sort of pipe or wiring, but who really knows? There’s nothing in the hall or the opposite bedroom to explain it. Anyway, I used to have this hanging Ikea storage sectional there, but I put too much stuff in it and it collapsed. So, I decided, something more sturdy, like shelving, was the way to go. Because finding shelving is easy, right?

This topic isn’t so much a DIY or Buy, exactly. It’s more a combo: By combining the powers of DIY and Buy, you too can put shelves in the awkward spaces in your home!

Challenge: Closet Shelving

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Homemade Chicken Stock/Chicken Broth in a Crock Pot

1 Feb
a bowl of stock

The finished product... stock!

I don’t know why I started making homemade stock (or broth… we’ll discuss the terminology in a moment). I think it was something that I grew up seeing my parents make — after any meal that involved large, bone-in portions of meat, whether turkey or chicken or ham or beef, the bones and stuck-on meat ended up in huge, silver soup pot with veggies and herbs, and then the whole house smelled great. And sometimes a few days later, we’d have delicious, rich soups.  And thus one great meal became several great meals.

And so I learned how to do the same thing. Make a big dinner, save the bones and stuck-on meat, and make stock. Waste not, want not, and all that. And also, stocks and broths are really valuable liquids to have on-hand. Rarely does a week go by that I don’t need ‘em. They add flavor to just about everything you might make: Soups, but also stews, roasts, grains like rice or polenta, sauces, curries, gravies, stuffings, braised vegetables,  braised meats, mashed potatoes… the list is endless. Frankly, anytime a recipe calls for water, you can substitute broth/stock. And, I must confess, I use them interchangeably.

Probably because, who knows what the difference is? I frankly have no idea what separates a broth from a stock. Some sources say that the difference is that stock is made with meat, bones and vegetables, while broth is made with meat and vegetables (no bones). Some sources say that browning the meat/bones/veggies is what makes a stock stock, and that broth can have all the same ingredients, just un-browned.  And even OTHER sources say that stocks are rich liquids with the meat/veggies removed, and broth has the meat and veggies in there (like a chicken noodle soup). Many people say that stocks are richer and stronger in flavor… but how do they get that way? If you know, please, take this opportunity to enlighten me in the comments below.

Well. Either way, I made some broth/stock stuff. And it was good. And so I present to you:

Challenge: Stock/Broth

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